Massimiliano Allegri is demanding a top rate performance from his troops in Saturday’s Serie A showdown with Milan, saying a high intensity approach will be required to see off Filippo Inzaghi’s men in Turin.
Four victories from the last four meetings with the Rossoneri, coupled with the visitors’ six-match winless run on the road, make the reigning champions firm favourites to continue their charge for a 33rd Scudetto with three vital points this weekend.
Allegri, however, believes the result remains anything but a foregone conclusion, insisting there is room for optimism in the Milan camp following a strong January recruitment drive which included the signing of former Torino winger Alessio Cerci.
Speaking to the media in Vinovo, the 47-year-old began: “Milan experienced a few difficulties in January but are a good side who had a decent December, beating Napoli and drawing with Roma. They also approach this game following a positive January transfer window, in which they recruited four internationals, and they seem destined to fight for a European spot. We’ll need to put in a great and intense performance if we’re to come away with the three points.”
Seeing off the Rossoneri would represent another important step of a journey that Allegri is convinced still involves plenty of twists and turns before honours are handed out at the end of May.
As such, he continues to reiterate the importance of his players maintaining full focus, safe in the knowledge that Roma will keep applying the pressure until the finishing line has been crossed.
“I’m reading that Juventus have already won the championship but that’s absolutely not the case. There’s still a long way to go and Roma are firmly in the hunt. We haven’t won anything and therefore need to keep focused and work our socks off until the mathematics tell us otherwise. ”
The midweek training ground injury suffered by Martin Caceres and suspension of Stephan Lichtsteiner means Allegri will have to shuffle his pack on the right-hand side.
But the Tuscan tactician maintains he is perfectly comfortable with the options available to him, citing the reliability of Padoin and Pepe and the return of Vidal as reasons to be upbeat when heading into the encounter.
“Caceres is a big doubt for tomorrow and Lichtsteiner is suspended but Padoin and Pepe could quite easily come in on the right-hand side. Vidal is back and that’s good news for us. I still haven’t chosen who will partner Tevez in attack, it depends on the choice of eight other players.”
Allegri concluded by expressing his satisfaction at the business conducted by the club in the January transfer market, placing particular emphasis on the important captures of Alessandro Matri as striking cover and Stefano Sturaro as an added midfielder with the potential to push for a first-team place.
“It’s been an excellent transfer window for us. Matri has come back, a player who enjoyed an excellent first half of the season with Genoa, scoring seven goals. Then there’s the arrival of Sturaro, a youngster who can cover several positions in midfield and offer us a great deal both now and in the future. De Ceglie is someone who understands the Juventus environment and can provide cover while Asamoah works his way back from injury.”